Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Tribunal Insulted by 'Misleading' US. Guarantees

Tribunal Update 46: Last Week in The Hague (September 29- October 3)
By IWPR ICTY

The US announcement made on October 2, maintained: "For indictees who surrender voluntarily now, the Tribunal's Office of the Prosecutor is prepared to bring their cases to trial in no more than three to five months. The US government guarantees full support for this undertaking."

Chartier told Tribunal Update: "If you see this as a written guarantee delivered by the Prosecutor via Washington, you have got it completely wrong. No one can give such guarantees!"

Under strong political and economic pressure from both the US and the European Union, Croatia has been looking for a face-saving way of surrendering a number of accused Bosnian Croats to the Tribunal. Believing that the surrender would be "more dignified" if it received some guarantees, the Zagreb government approached the Tribunal to provide such guarantees.

However, Prosecutor Arbour, maintained two weeks ago while in the region that while every defendent received a fair trail as a matter of fact, nobody was able to guarantee the start time of the trial until all of the accused have appeared before the Tribunal.

Rejected by the Tribunal, the Croats had approached the US government and had seemingly received something resembling the requested guarantees, so that the "dignified surrender" could go ahead as planned.

"By making such statements" Chartier told Tribunal Update, "they are making us look like a politically driven tribunal. And that is very bad for us, that is bad for the United States, and that is bad for Croatia. We are not a tribunal that you can switch on and switch off every day, according to political circumstance."